:: Bob Wayne and the Outlaw Carnies :: Bender’s Tavern :: March 21 ::
By Monica Banks
Most people use the highway as a means to an end, but Bob Wayne can comfortably call it home. For two years, Wayne has been living on a John Deer bus and ignoring speed limit signs across the country. While Wayne usually tells his story through his songs, he recently took the time to explain a few things to The Marquee in normal words.
Wayne began his music career at the bottom. He started out as a roadie for his friends’ band Zeke. From there, he perfected his roadie talents and went to work for Hank Williams III. One day, Wayne was playing a guitar around the trailer and then things took off. He was told that within a year he would be on stage. “I didn’t really believe it at first,” he said.
The music moved fast, from stacking guitars and loading gear to opening sold out shows for Hank III. “It was crazy,” said Wayne.
When he first started playing, Wayne was burning CD’s from the bus before a show and selling out afterwards. Now he is on the road with his own band, The Outlaw Carnies, an eclectic mix of pickers and talented players.
The Outlaw Carnies have a revolving network of musicians, which is usually based on availability and talent. “I have an A team, a B team and a C team,” Wayne said. Often on the A team is Andy Gibson, from Hank III. Gibson has been playing with Wayne since the beginning and whenever he isn’t on the road with Hank III, he can be found picking with The Outlaw Carnies.
Most of the Carnies come from Nashville. “I’m pretty hooked into that scene, there are a lot of good pickers down there,” Wayne said. His first two records were recorded in Nashville, and a third album is on its way from Seattle. Wayne’s music is often classified as outlaw or alternative country, rougher lyrics and a rowdier twist to the old school honky-tonk style.
Wayne first picked up the guitar when he was eight. His first songs were “Tear in My Beer” and “Hey Good Lookin.’” His mother was in a cover band and his grandfather was an organist who played with Bing Crosby. Wayne grew up in Richland, Wash., the home of the Manhattan Project, the nuclear weapons development project, all of which, he said, contributed to his take on life and his music. “I’m just living hard and fast, waiting for the cancer to set in,” Wayne said.
Wayne got serious about music when he turned 15. At that time, Wayne stole a car, dropped out of high school and moved with his girlfriend to Santa Cruz, Calif. Wayne has since been court ordered to receive his G.E.D., but has not attended college.
Today, Wayne is concentrating on his music and touring whenever he can. “I live life on the road — have for the past two years. I live more like a trucker really,” he said.
Today Wayne can’t recall just how many times he has been arrested, but one of his favorites is when he was at a party with some friends in the desert. He saw a few of his friends walking down the path with a flashlight in hand. Wayne, ever the man for a practical joke, quickly jumped out of sight, hiding in the bushes. His friends came up and he jumped out, yelling “FREEZE!” However, Wayne was the one who was surprised when he found out that the men were police officers and not his friends.
But, while Wayne has had a hard-livin’ life on the run and on the road, he wasn’t always an outlaw-country man, even though he had a lot of tendencies throughout. He has a delicate, story-telling side too. He first discovered this inclination after buying the Melvins album The Crybaby, which features Hank III on “Ramblin’ Man” and “Okie From Muskogee.” After hearing that album, Wayne began writing his own ballads, comprised of a mixture of his own adventures and some tall tales. “My songs explain a lot about me,” Wayne said. He still indulges in the Melvins, but his own music has been more influenced by the great storytellers: Johnny Cash, Waylon Jennings and David Allen Cole.
With a music career on track, Wayne has put aside his jailhouse days and is now concentrating on the music. “You can’t play a show when you’re in jail,” he said. However, Wayne has been in jail enough to tell the tales. “I tell stories, I am a storyteller. Sometimes it’s about hooking up with the devil at 5:00 in the morning, other times it could be robbing a bank. Every song is a different story.”
:: Bob Wayne and the Outlaw Carnies ::
:: Bender’s Tavern :: March 21 ::
Spectate if you Gravitate:
• G.G. Allin
• Johnny Cash
• Hank Williams III